In honor of Black History Month, Visit Clarksville sat down with five community members to share their stories, their inspirations, and their messages. This four-part series highlights business owners whose impact on the community goes far beyond their storefronts. Whether that is by painting inspiring murals, providing opportunities for small businesses, mentoring students in local schools, or feeding shelters, these leaders are going above and beyond to serve Clarksville-Montgomery County.

Business - Legends Smokehouse & Grill

Kevin Smith Legends Smokehouse Edited

Tell us about Legends Smokehouse and Grill.

I started it in 2017 out of the kitchen at my house. I came in one night and told my wife I was going to make a barbecue sauce. From there I started cooking for my neighbors, and now we have 14 sauces, two locations, a food truck, and lots of exciting plans for the future!

What would you like visitors to know about Legends?

I want visitors to know that I care about what they're eating. When they're not happy, I go to sleep with it. I want my customers to be 100% happy every single time, and I know everyone says that’s impossible, but I’m a firm believer that if I can take care of something before you walk out of that door let me do it. I can't change what's going on in the world, but I can be positive and change your world.

What has been the most rewarding part of your business?

The most rewarding part of the business is the customers. I actually don’t eat a lot of the things that I make because you can only have that first-time experience one time, but I get that first-time experience every time someone eats my food. I get to experience it over and over every time like it’s the first time.

What is your message to young entrepreneurs?

Don’t waste time in the planning stage. You can spend a lot of time planning something and you're losing time. Time is one of the most valuable things we have because once it's gone you can't get it back. If there's something you want to do, do it. Don’t be afraid. I'd rather fail trying than not have tried at all.

Who inspires you?

My family is my inspiration. Do you ever wake up and every day just seems perfect? Every day I know I’m blessed. My wife is great. My kids are great. The people I work with are great. They are like family. I can come to work and work all day long and my workers say to me, “Go home, we got it.” I love my job. I love my life. I try to help as many people as possible. I don’t advertise it. What I do is between me and that person. At the end of the day, I just want to hear “Well done”. That’s all I want.

Beyond your business, how are you involved in the Clarksville community?

We contribute to women’s shelters. My wife is a big supporter of that. We have a standing order to where if they are hungry, it does not matter how many people are in the shelter, it is our job to feed them. We support local men's shelters. We have a Plus One program here that provides pre-paid meals to those who need them. We have a scholarship at Austin Peay State University and try to increase that each year. It's not about making money and putting it in my pocket because I can’t take it with me when I die. So who can I help in the process? That’s why I love what I do. That’s really what it’s about.

What is your message to potential visitors?

Believe the hype. When you see all these articles saying Clarksville is a great place to visit, it really is. There are so many hidden gems here.